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Affirmative Action Without Racial Preferences

In my forthcoming book, Classified, I suggest limiting preferences in higher education to descendants of enslaved Americans and residents of Indian reservations.

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The Supreme Court, as most readers surely know by know, has decided to hear appeals to two cases challenging racial and ethnic preferences in higher education. Assuming the Court is disinclined to allow the use of overt racial and ethnic preferences, is it possible that some version of affirmative action that takes ancestral "background" into account may be salvaged?

In my forthcoming book, Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America, I suggest that the answer is yes, at least with regard to most African Americans and some Native Americans. (The book is not about affirmative action, but obviously a book on racial classifications is going to address that issue.)

The book describes how the familiar categories universities use to sort students by race and ethnicity--Asian American, Black/African American, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and White--came to be. To make a long story short, they were invented by the Office of Management and Budget in the 1970s to regularize statistics-keeping and reporting within the federal government. While "white" and "black" were familiar categories, almost no one considered themselves or anyone else to be Hispanic, "Latino" or "Asian" before 1970 [as opposed to Mexican, Cuban, Chinese, Japanese, etc.] and it was by no means inevitable that white ethnic groups like Cajuns, Italians, Poles, and Jews would be classified as generic whites.

The classifications the government came up with were never intended to be proxies for "diversity" in higher education or elsewhere, and they explicitly came with the caveat that the "classifications should not be interpreted as being scientific or anthropological in nature." OMB warned that the categories also should not be "viewed as determinants of eligibility for participation in any Federal program," such as affirmative action programs.

Nevertheless, because universities had to use these categories in reporting admissions statistics to the Department of Education, they almost immediately became affirmative action proxy categories. In the book, I first address the use of these categories in Minority Business Enterprise programs:

Businesses owned by African American descendants of slaves (ADOS) were the original primary intended beneficiaries of minority business enterprise (MBE) preferences. Nevertheless, members of all minority groups became equally eligible for these preferences….
Most MBE preferences now go to businesses owned by members of official minority groups who are not descendants of enslaved Americans. The ADOS population is dwarfed demographically by the combined population of Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean and their descendants. The non-ADOS groups not only outnumber black Americans but on average have more of the economic, educational, and social capital needed to obtain government contracts.

Under current rules and norms, anyone with partial Asian or Hispanic ancestry going back at least to one's grandparents and perhaps indefinitely can claim membership in those groups. Americans of mixed ancestry are generally willing to shift their self-identified racial or ethnic status to whatever currently benefits them….Within a generation or two, a large majority of Americans will be eligible for MBE preferences. If almost everyone is eligible for affirmative action preferences, they cease being meaningful. Limiting MBE preferences to fewer people may be the only way the preferences can be saved.

All this suggests that to the extent MBE preferences continue, the government should limit them primarily to the original intended beneficiaries, ADOS. Members of recognized Indian tribes who live on and perhaps very close to reservations, a much smaller demographic, should also be included. Such a limitation would have several advantages. First, ADOS and residents of Indian reservations are the two American groups whose ancestors suffered the most by far from state and private violence, oppression, and exclusion, with continuing reverberations today….

Finally, government-granted preferences to people based on their racial or ethnic category raise constitutional, ethical, and practical concerns. But neither descent from American slaves nor membership in an Indian tribe and residence on an Indian reservation is a racial category, as such [see Morton v. Mancari]. Black Americans born in Africa would no longer qualify for MBE preferences, nor would a Los Angeles resident who has one Native American great-grandparent from whom he inherited tribal membership.

I then turn to racial preferences in higher education:

The only purpose for which the Supreme Court permits university-level affirmative action is to enhance the "diversity" of a school's student body for the benefit of all concerned…. Yet the way colleges go about achieving racial and ethnic diversity makes little sense if diversity per se is the objective, as opposed to using diversity as a subterfuge while pursuing other objectives.

First, many elite schools try to match their percentage of minority students from various groups with their respective percentages of the applicant pool or other demographic baseline. Approximately one-half of one percent of the American population identifies as Native American, compared to 18 percent as Hispanic. In an entering class of, say, one thousand, the one hundred and eightieth Hispanic student surely does not make the class more ethnically diverse than would the sixth Native American.

Moreover, universities often give little or no consideration to the fact that members of official minority groups "may have no interest whatsoever in the culture popularly associated with the group…." Meanwhile, the relevant official minority categories are themselves internally ethnically diverse, often radically so…. [Meanwhile, a] Yemeni Muslim student may add significant religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity to a campus. For campus affirmative action purposes, however, admissions offices classify her as just another non-Hispanic white student. The same is true of an Egyptian Copt, a Hungarian Roma, a Bosnian refugee, a Scandinavian Laplander, a Siberian Tatar, a Bobover Hasid, and their descendants."

Those who qualify for the African American category also are not culturally uniform [including everyone from an African immigrant with one white parent to descendants of American slaves]….
The Native American category is also extremely internally diverse [and fraudulent claims of Native American status are common]….

The best way forward for schools truly interested in attracting a diverse group of students would be to cease relying on crude government-imposed racial and ethnic classifications as a proxy for genuine diversity. As in the MBE context, affirmative action preferences, if pursued, should be limited to African American descendants of slaves and members of American Indian tribes who live on reservations. The goal of such preferences would not be diversity, but the righting historical injustices that have modern reverberations, and helping to bring marginalized groups into the American mainstream.

There is a risk, however, the Supreme Court would hold that the ADOS and Indian reservation resident categories are proxies for racial classifications and therefore presumptively unconstitutional.

NEXT: Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Clarify the Scope of Federal Regulatory Jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act

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  1. In my forthcoming book, Classified, I suggest limiting preferences in higher education to descendants of enslaved Americans and residents of Indian reservations.

    That is the most sensible thing I have seen from Bernstein.

    I have argued literally for decades that exactly that policy was the right way to guide all affirmative action efforts. My guess is that a great deal of the class hostility which now divides the country could have been avoided by doing that.

    1. Wouldn't that run afoul of "no Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States?" What is nobility other than an advantage passed down through heredity?

      Private organizations COULD do it though. It still violates a principle of liberalism that we should treat people without regard to their family. As examples, we would not punish someone because their dad was a felon and we do not give Nicholas Cage preference for being in a famous family.

      1. Section 2 of the 13th Amendment would seem to me to allow it.

        1. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

          Section 2 provides to Congress power to act relating to section 1(above). Nothing here that would empower Congress to do anything regarding people who have no slave relatives for at least 4 or 5 generations(ADOS) or people who have no slave holding relatives for at least 4 or 5 generations. Seems that the whole who did what to whom thing has long since passed any statute of limitations.

  2. ADOS and Indian reservation resident standard

    Both ultimately suffer from the same purity issues as race does. Maybe the book makes it clear how the purity issues get resolved. The post doesn't seem to.

    1. It's gonna be a tough sell.

      No AA for Barack Obama. Yes AA for Meghan Markle

  3. "Supreme Court would hold that the ADOS and Indian reservation resident categories are proxies for racial classifications and therefore presumptively unconstitutional. "

    As it should.

  4. I don't understand these superficial attempts to "right historical wrongs". Are you going to demand prominent positions for Jews, one of the most wronged groups of people in history?

    Tipping the scales of merit hurts both the person you seek to help and society as a whole. No one wants to feel like their accomplishments came about because of someone else's guilt.

    1. Whether one supports preferences or not, it's hard to gainsay the point that whatever discrimination Jews and others faced in the United States and in their home countries, in the US the two groups that by far suffered most from state-sponsored oppression were African Americans and non-assimilated Indians.

      1. The two groups whose ancestors most suffered from state-sponsored oppression, you mean?

        Isn't there a bit of a nobility clause problem here?

        1. Disadvantages, like homes, photographs, and Bibles, often get handed down.

          1. Yes, but what Bernstein is suggesting handing down are advantages. Preferences, based on ancestry. Sounds like a nobility clause problem to me.

            Is this a one time thing, or are the recipients' children, also descendants of slaves, also going to get the preferences? When do the preferences extinguish, and we get to treating people on their own merits?

            1. Do people who want to be treated on their own merits disclaim inheritances?

              1. Ok, that is a good one.

                1. It's not difficult to mock these Republican clingers, especially when they are dumb enough to discuss race in public.

            2. I think he's talking about advantages for those with ancestral disadvantages.

      2. And isn't there a, "This rationale for discriminatory admissions has already been rejected by the Court." problem, too?

        1. Everyone would have been much better off if the Court had adopted Marshall's dissent in Bakke as the majority, but limited its scope to African Americans (and Native American residents on reservations). Justice Powell seemed to think that elite universities really cared about "diversity" as opposed to "racial and ethnic balancing." He was wrong. But despite the diversity rationale required by law, the primary driving factor remains the historical oppression of African Americans. Except the diversity rationale requires expanding preferences, and also creating vast DEI bureaucracies. Instead, limiting it to its underlying purpose, whether you agree or not, would at least make the debate open and honest, whereas now it's filled with circumlocution, subterfuge, and indeed, often outright lying. Also, private bodies, including private universities, should have broader scope for experiementation than public universities bound by constitutional restrictions.

          1. "But despite the diversity rationale required by law, the primary driving factor remains the historical oppression of African Americans."

            Right, which is to say that the basis of the policies is a lie.

            " Instead, limiting it to its underlying purpose, whether you agree or not, would at least make the debate open and honest,"

            I should think it would end the debate, because they'd be confessing to acting illegally.

            "Also, private bodies, including private universities, should have broader scope for experimentation than public universities bound by constitutional restrictions."

            Well, we can agree on that, and when the rest of society is freed of this "all that's not mandatory is forbidden" regime, I might agree the universities should be, too. But the rest of society still labors under that regime.

            And, again, isn't there a bit of a nobility clause problem in what you're proposing? Heritable legal privileges?

          2. I actually think the problem goes back further, although Marshall still remains the central figure.

            From Missouri ex rel. Gaines onward, the civil rights movement (led in large part by Thurgood Marshall) emphasized the color-blindness of the Constitution. I understand that they did so because that was the only way they thought they could win at that stage.

            However, the "all-or-nothing" nature of that paradigm has prevented us from having an intellectually honest discussion of how we should address racial issues, and has been since the 1960s.

            What we should have been doing was redressing some of the injustices of slavery as succeeded by Jim Crow. Those injustices were foisted only on only a single racial group.

            All other racial and ethnic complaints pale in comparison. From No-Nothingism to "No Irish need apply" to the Chinese Exclusion Act to anti-Mexican bigotry, those obstacles have proven eminently conquerable.

            But once you argue that everybody should have access to the same remedies for actual or perceived historical grievances, it cheapens the experience of African Americans [cf. use of Holocaust comparisons to advance any political cause other than actual anti-Nazism], and damages the notion of America as a nation of VOLUNTARY immigrants who can and will overcome whatever temporary prejudices they may face, and should be treated equally under the law.

            1. However, the "all-or-nothing" nature of that paradigm has prevented us from having an intellectually honest discussion of how we should address racial issues, and has been since the 1960s.

              It just proves that you are not being intellectually honest -- you are being racist, just lie the people they were fighting.

              1. "It just proves that you are not being intellectually honest -- you are being racist, just like the people they were fighting."
                Ah, but racism on behalf of some people is OK, haven't you heard?

      3. I don't understand this at all ... have there been mass expulsions and murders of African Americans and assimilated Indians in more or less every generation for the last thousand years?

        1. Never mind ... I mis-parsed your comment. Does it make sense to focus only on US history, when a large fraction of the country are immigrants?

          1. If I'm reading you correctly, you are suggesting that folks in the US, who's ancestors were discriminated against in other countries by those other country's governments, are owed something by the population of this country? It's a hard enough sell to ask for preferences for ADOS to be paid for by folks who arrived here after the end of slavery.

  5. What parking of “equal protection under the law” don’t you get?

    Once you start trying to correct the wrongs of the past by “making it up” to the present generation, you promote a wrong against people who had nothing to do with the previous wrongs.

    It’s a pendulum that will NEVER stop.

    1. I have a rule in my household: every kid must help out equally.

      Now, my six year old and my 15 year old had to carry bags of groceries, but I let the former carry the bread and the latter the cans.

      Equality violation?

      1. Equality violation?

        Impossible to tell without more details on your household's statutory definition of "help out equally."

        The EP clause guarantees the same (you know, "equal") legal protections to everyone. From your (contrived?) example, your household's usage of "equal" seems to mean something other than the same.

        1. Does it? That seems to be question begging. If 'equal' means 'same' then my practice is wrong, but if it means treat like cases alike, not so much.

          1. but if it means treat like cases alike, not so much

            Ah, so treat all men alike, treat all women alike, treat all whites alike, treat all blacks alike. That sort of 19th-century "equal"?

            1. Lol, it's telling you think blacks and whites, women and men, are not 'alike' cases.

              Telling, not surprising!

              1. Hey, Queenie -- it was your poor analogy. Don't get all deflective when you see how quickly it breaks down.

                1. You goof, it's Aristotle's!

              2. "Lol, it's telling you think blacks and whites, women and men, are not 'alike' cases."

                Isn't that what you're arguing? Who's the 6 year old in your analogy?

                1. Uh, it's that the 6 and 15 year old are not similarly situated. And yet, the treatment can be said to be equal!

                  So with a black kid whose grandparents were slaves and a white kid whose were not, if there is a 5 point gap in the SAT one could still prefer the former.

                  1. Uh, it's that the 6 and 15 year old are not similarly situated.

                    And yet the 6 year old will become so similarly situated, simply by living 9 more years. Can't wait for you to map that onto the black and white kids!

                    Your analogy sucks. Badly. Stop trying to salvage it.

                  2. that is because a 5 point gap is meaningless.

                  3. "So with a black kid whose grandparents were slaves and a white kid whose were not, if there is a 5 point gap in the SAT one could still prefer the former."

                    And if the black kid is the daughter of the former president of the united states and he white kid is living at the poverty line with his single mother?

                  4. "So with a black kid whose grandparents were slaves and a white kid whose were not..."

                    If a black kid and a white kid with similar credentials apply for a job, are they similarly situated?

      2. "Now, my six year old and my 15 year old had to carry bags of groceries, but I let the former carry the bread and the latter the cans.

        Equality violation?"

        You tell us. Does carrying the bread help out as much as carrying the cans? Maybe you don't have the rule you think you do.

        1. No, you answer the question first. Not rewarding trolling.

          1. "No, you answer the question first. Not rewarding trolling.".

            It should be obvious that the question is rhetorical. No, carrying the bread doesn't help as much as carrying the cans.

      3. So you think black people are equal to 6 year olds -- damn you are a fucking racist!

      4. "Equality violation?"
        From each according to their ability. Perhaps it works better in tightly knit socialist enclaves (the family unit), than within society at large.

  6. No. Nothing other than academic achievement and merit should be factors in admissions criteria. It is irrelevant what happened to some ancestor in the past. If that results in a student body that is all White, all Black , all Asian, Native, Male, Female, what have you it is irrelevant. Not matter what the makeup the student body will be comprised of the best and brightest there is to offer and in the end that is all that is important.

    1. "Nothing other than academic achievement and merit should be factors in admissions criteria."

      Why?

      I mean, why should public universities, which are a public benefits program, have that criteria (do you know of many other public benefits programs like that)? What about private colleges. It's not obvious to me why, say, a Catholic college like Georgetown should only weight 'academic achievement and merit.' Is that how the Catholic Church thinks?

      1. You comment may have some merit if private institutions accept no federal taxpayer money. I'd have no problem with the Grove Cities of the world to have any admissions policy they like.

        The bottom line is in the end there is only one quality worth valuing in a person and that is "Are you competent?"

        What you look like, who you chose to sleep with or marry, who's great-grandfather owned who's great-grandfather, all of these things are utterly irrelevant to whether or not you, the person who is going out into the world, or are training to go out into the world.

        The only thing society values is whether or not you are competent and are of good character.

        My wife and I own an Executive Recruiting firm. Competence is the only factor our clients care about, and it's the only thing we care about also. If you go into an interview and all you want to talk about is who you are, and not what you have achieved, I can guarantee you will not be asked back.

        1. Again, that's ridiculous. 'Society' doesn't only value whether you are 'competent or of good character.' We don't give most benefits (public or private) out on that basis! Lol!

          1. Ridiculous?
            The following is ridiculous.
            My publisher instructs me to consider diversity of gender, race, national origin, etc. when I choose referees to perform peer reviews.
            I don't care about "diversity" in that role. I want people who are expert enough to spot errors, or omissions, areas for improvement of the manuscript. That is what the readers want and that is what the society seems to venerate in the concept of peer reviews.
            If the reviewers are all old white men, that is fine. If they are all asian women, that is also fine.

            1. Agreed. If you have to choose less expert reviewers to satisfy a political goal, the product will be impacted.

              1. It sure will!
                Have they implemented AA in medical schools yet?
                I hear some (all?) airlines are implementing AA for pilots.
                The brave new world of enforced incompetence!

    2. " No. Nothing other than academic achievement and merit should be factors in admissions criteria. "

      A simple plan from a simpleton.

      1. That's rich coming from someone incapable of understanding basic English, though I must say your use of a word fully nine letters long is quite a feat.

        1. How is life in Pennsyltucky these days, Currentsitguy?

          Still half-educated, bigoted, superstitious, and resentful of better Americans?

    3. Why should we restrict potential access to limited government services only to those the government thinks are best able to use them? Especially using such poor-performing criteria as grades and SAT/ACT scores.
      "Merit" seems like a good idea, but what other rights do we allow the government to limit based on how good they think our use of it should be?

      All public school admissions should be lotteries! Those unable to learn or pay will quit or flunk out, allowing those that can perform to enter in their place.

      /s

      1. No one flunks out of public school, don't be ridiculous.

  7. If nothing else, this might reveal the actual number of descendants of slaves there are in this country, and more specifically of those enslaved in America, vs. the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America. I suspect the number is actually very small.

    1. Actually, were you to do a genuine analysis, the percentage would be growing with time, not shrinking, as the blood of slaves diffuses through the population.

      1. The fraction of persons with ADOS might be growing, and this includes within the hite population also.
        But the total amount of ADOS would be far less. Each ADOS would have to quantify their fractional descent from American slavery. The precedent is like tribal affinity based on fractional ancestry. So out of the 4 million who were enslaved at the start of the Civil War, sum the fractions that people hold now, excluding the non-American slave fractions. Will likely be more than 4 million, but far less than the 40 million with any traceable lineage.

  8. 1. Affirmative action programs in higher education do not aim to provide a form of reparations (that's forbidden by case law), they are intended to provide increased representation of under-represented groups under the theory that that makes for a better education for everyone on campus. So I'm not sure why you'd have a place in preferences for the two groups you mention.

    2. Wouldn't your categories suffer from the same problems you identify? Descendants of enslaved Africans might not share or be involved in a common culture (same as Indians on reservations).

    3. The idea of extending preferences to the larger group of, say, African-Americans, whether they had enslaved ancestors or not, is usually defended on the idea that the stereotypes created to justify slavery were not very precise and so likely impact even those of African descendants that were not enslaved, resulting in them being under-represented.

    1. 1. I know, but no one believes that's the real rationale, nor, as noted, do universities behave as if that's the real rationale.

      2. If the rationale is reparative rather than "diversity" that doesn't matter.

      3. Except that groups like Nigerian Americans are not in fact underrepresented like other black Americans. Elite colleges and grad schools are full of African immigrants and their children, at way higher rates per capita than ADOS. I was just talking to a grad school dean (not my dean) about how he meets his AA goals. His answer was "mostly by admitting African immigrants."

      1. 1. I don't think that's obvious. Actions under both rationales are going to overlap considerably, but that isn't conclusive of much. At the least, in your book I hope you don't use 'everyone knows' arguments.

        2. Yes, agreed.

        3. Most Nigerian-Americans (I take it you mean relatively recent?) who are in a position to go to college here are going to be relatively well off, no? It wouldn't be surprising if they might have resources to offset the alleged stereotypes they might still have to face.

        1. 3. The problem in practice is that it's a zero-sum game. And ADOS get crowded out by immigrants and their kids. Also by kids from multiracial families who identify themselves as black. There was even a protest about this at Cornell a few years ago. From a "social justice" perspective, the argument would be that admitting lots of immigrants and their kids allows a veneer of progress and "diversity," while allowing for the continued neglect of the majority of the black population's education.

          1. "dmitting lots of immigrants and their kids allows a veneer of progress and "diversity," while allowing for the continued neglect of the majority of the black population's education."

            Aren't those immigrants and their kids 'black?'

            1. They are, which is why I referred to the "majority of the black population," which is not composed of immigrants etc.

              1. Yes, you're right.

        2. 1. Again, as noted, universities don't behave as if they actually care about "diversity," as such.

          1. Again, I don't think that's obvious. Actions under both rationales are going to overlap considerably, but that isn't conclusive of much. At the least, in your book I hope you don't use 'everyone knows' arguments.

            I mean, if it were so obviously about reparations as you claim, then why do they, as you also claim, allow so many 'ADOS' to get 'crowded out'?

            1. Conflicting objectives. And being trained to see each member of arbitrary statistical classes as the same.

              1. So your argument is: current preference practices *obviously* seek reparations. You can tell that by what they actually do.

                But, at the same time, they prefer more people that don't deserve reparations, as shown by what they actually do.

              2. Can I offer a possible alternative that Occam's might suggest?

                Current preference practices actually seek to achieve the goal of addressing representation. Those who are African-American, whether ADOS or recent immigrants, fit the bill. Since the latter also satisfy other criteria more they are admitted more.

                I may or may not be right. I'm just a guy on the internet. However, if you're hoping your book will be a scholarly contribution to peer review discussion and not a partisan polemic, I hope you've seriously considered and addressed this kind of response.

                1. Your solution presupposes that a the child of a Nigerian oligarch who came to study in the U.S. "represents" the black population in general. I'm not an anthropologist, but from what I've read in the course of my research I'd say, "it depends." In the 80s, when black immigration to the US picked up, the government had to decide whether the "Black/African American" category included immigrants and their children. It arbitrarily (i.e., without going through any sort of rigorous or formal process) that it did. Could have gone either way. Also, you are assuming "diversity" is about "representation." There are definitely elements of that in O'Connor's opinion in Grutter, and yet she also remained opposed to "racial balancing." How one distinguishes between "representation that closely matches the applicant pool" and "racial balancing" is one of many unanswered questions from Grutter.

  9. " it was by no means inevitable that white ethnic groups like Cajuns, Italians, Poles, and Jews would be classified as generic whites."

    Didn't you write quite a bit about how those groups were always classified as white?

    1. Yes, but at least at the federal level, this was also almost always true of Mexicans, and definitely true of Cubans unless they were Afro-Cubans. The 60s and 70s were a time when racial categories were in flux. Some federal departments used a catchall of "Other Minorities." That's where Italians et al would have landed, if they had been classified separately. This wouldn't have made them "non-white" but it would have meant that the government and certain regulated entities had to keep separate statistics on them. Meanwhile, South Asian Indians were initially classified as white, but successfully lobbied to be included in the Asian category.

  10. If the rationale for discrimination in college admissions is to enhance diversity for the educational benefit of ALL students, then I could understand the argument that admission of reservation Native Americans might further that end, whereas admission of a fully-assimilated Native American Angeleno would not. Probably relatively few "majority race" Americans entering college have experience knowing reservation NAs.
    But with respect to admission of Blacks, diversity would be enhanced more by admission of African-born or descended students than by admission of US slave descendants, because "majority race" Americans entering college are more likely to have known descendants of US slaves than to have known African-born or descended Blacks, if for no other reason than that there are a lot more of the former than of the latter (speaking for myself, in almost 80 years I have known innumberable ADOSes, but I can't think of a single African-born or -descended Black person that I have known well personally (I've been in the presence of such people, but not known any well personally that I can recall).
    BTW when I was an undergraduate at Harvard in the 1960's, the Black African students were quite prominent (I think they dominated the soccer team, for example), but the ADOS students had a much lower profile.

    1. The underlying issue is that universities use the crude government statistical categories as a proxy for "diverse" students, so, in practice, the fully-assimilated Native American Angeleno "counts" just as much as the Navajo reservation resident. This is a legal weakness in the way AA is done that to my knowledge litigants haven't really raised, much less exploited. Actually, the most problematic thing, legally speaking, in the Harvard litigation AFAIC, is that Harvard treates all "Asians" as one group for diversity purposes to begin with. What, in terms of diversity, to Filipinos, Pakistanis, Chinese, indonesians, Koreans, Vietnamese, etc etc actually have in common, besides being from Asia other than West Asia? It's not just that Harvard hasn't justified using this category; it can't.

    2. BTW, let me clarify: I know NOW a Black African-descended person, and consider him a friend and role model. But that experience in my later years is not typical of the experience relevant to college admissions.

      1. When you were an undergraduate at Harvard in the '60s, were any of you smart enough to know that the white privilege on which most of you guys would coast would start to founder during your lifetimes, and that conservatives would be losers in the culture war for the entirety of your adult lives?

  11. Will it require a 23and me DNA test to prove the claim? Or an ancestry chart?
    What nonsense. Equality is the goal. You can get around it.

    1. We currently rely on self-id. So the problem of proving identity certainly wouldn't get worse.

  12. My family is Jewish. My wife and I have no children; we are probably the most observant Jews in the family (and my wife is a convert). I have four nephews; none of them were raised Jewish and none of them have had a Bar Mitzvah. A few years ago, one of my nephews was in a high school class and they asked him to talk about Judaism (which is odd since the suburb he lives in, Bexley, has a high percentage of Jews and would be odd if he were the only Jew in that class).

    1. The only black kid in school classes for decades have always been singled out -- it's a racist impulse and it sucks.

  13. Why limit it to ADOS and Native Americans living on reservations? Why not include (other) people colonized by the US federal government: Aleuts, Guamanians, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos and Native Hawaiians?

  14. You really need to address the nobility clause problem, since you're proposing heritable legal privileges.

  15. Now how in the world does that get the Democrat party votes?

    HATE! They need racism and hate, greed and animus!

    Don't you even progressive?????

    1. easy two-step guide to "progressive" politics:
      step 1: Come up with some insane policies. (Don't worry about taking people's money or hurting people. Don't worry if your proposed policy is racist as hell; just call it something nice, like "affirmative action.")
      step 2: Scream that opposition to your policies -- the ones that take people's money, hurt people, and are racist as hell -- is, respectively, greedy / hateful / racist.
      Then sit back and watch people vote for you in droves!
      (It helps if the schools and the media are uniformly parrot your narrative.)

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